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THE BLUE FOX                                   419

The Arctic Fox, Oanis lagopus, is known by its bluish summer
and pure white winter dress as " Blue Fox " and " White Fox "
respectively. It is an inhabitant of the Arctic north ; but in
former days, as its remains show, it descended to such southern
latitudes as Germany and this country. The most southern
point which it now inhabits is Iceland. This small Fox is -well
known as being one of the few animals which change their dress
to a complete, white in winter. This change is, however, not
absolutely universal; and M. Trouessart has even stated that
the supposed change does not exist, but that the colours are a
question of age and sex. This Fox feeds on bitfJis a DC cast-up
carcases of Whales and Seals; it is also said to devour shell-fish,
and actually to store up food when abundant for .seasons of
scarcity, A Fox has been observed to " carry off eggs in his
month from an eider duck's nest, one at a time, until the whole
were removed " ; and in winter to " scratch a hole down through
very deep snow to a cache, of eggs beneath." These anecdotes
are told by Sir Leopold M'Clintock ; but others have also
asserted the storing habits of this Fox, which really has only
a short time of the year in which it can catch suitable living
Oanis vulpes, the Fox, is not only a native of England, but
extends as far to the east as Egypt, the so-called C. aegypt^ae^(fs
being at most a mere variety. Varieties indeed occur in these
islands; the English Fox being redder, the Scotch greyer. Not
only is the Fox a truly indigenous English beast, but its remains
go back a very long way into past time. Its bones occur in the
Red Crag, a deposit of Pliocene times. Its prevalence now is no
doubt due to its preservation as a beast of chase. It lives in
burrows, either excavating them itself or taking possession of
those of some other animal; the Badger suffers in. this way, and
is said to be vanquished not by the teeth, of the burglarious Fox,
but by its far fouler habits ! It is curious that the expression
" foxing" is not so suitable to this animal as to many others.
The habit of " shamming death " is a widely-spread one in the
animal world, but at least not common with our Fox. The
sagacity of the Fox appears to be a little more proverbial than
actual; literature teems with its accomplishments. The worthy
Archbishop of TJpsala, Olaus Magnus, figured Foxes dipping their
tails in the streams, and then pulling out inquisitive crayfishes